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Premier on the G3 Bayonet



    by R.D.C EVANS

    October 2009Bayonet Studies Series No.4

    First EditionThis article is provided free, you should not be charged for it.

    Future updates and revisions will be available at



    H&K G3 Series for 7.62 x 51 mm NATO cartridge.

    Gewehr 3 rifle adopted for West German forces in 1959. (The G1 was the Belgian FN FAL and the G2 was the Swiss StG 57.)

    Rifle made by Heckler & Koch GmbH & Cie., at Oberndorf am Necker.

    PLATE 1: Heckler & Koch G3 rifle with fixed Eickhorn KCB-70 M3 wire-cutter bayonet.

    Initially, Rheinmetall of Dsseldorf also produced a version of the G3 (for special Rheinmetall G3 bayonet see Maddox No. 418, ABC p.182, Kiesling No. 63) but passed manufacturing rights to H&K. Indonesia produced a copy of the Rheinmetall G3 bayonet with black plastic grips (Ziegler Website).H&K subsequently produced a bewildering variety of assault rifles of basic G3 type, e.g. :-G3A1 - Retractable stock. Oct.1963. G3A2. - Free-floating barrel.G3A3 - Plastic stock. Redesigned rear-sight. Dec. 1964. G3A4 - Retractable stock. 1964. etc., etc.

    G3K rifles (K=Kurz=Short) do not accept bayonets.Sniper rifles (e.g. G3 Zf) have telescopes and do not usually carry bayonets.

    Exported to nearly 90 countries world-wide. Manufactured under licence by around 17 countries.

    H&K HK33 Series for 5.56 x 45 mm NATO cartridge.

    Introduced 1968. Not adopted by the West German military.HK33 A2 - Fixed plastic stock.HK33 A3 - Retractable stock. etc., etc.

    Short K-designated rifles again do not carry bayonets.Exported to about 24 countries. Made under licence by Turkey and by Harrington & Richardson, USA.


  • H&K G41 Series for 5.56 x 45 mm NATO cartridge.

    Introduced 1981 and adopted for West German forces in 1883 as the Gewehr 41. Short K-designated rifles again do not carry bayonets.

    Variants - G41A1, G41A2, G41A3, G41TGS etc.

    PLATE 2: Heckler & Koch G41 rifle with the basic German G3-style bayonet fixed.

    Exported to four countries - Italy, Spain, Sri Lanka and Turkey. No licenced manufacturers outside Germany.


    H&K Gewehr 36 [G36] Assault Rifle for 5.56 x 45 mm NATO cartridge. Has bayonet bar below barrel for a Kalashnikov AKM Type 2 bayonet with its muzzle ring enlarged from 17.5 mm to 22 mm. These bayonets were available in quantity from East Germany when Germany reunited in October 1990 (Ivie p.83). First deliveries to German troops in 1997.

    H&K G11 Rifle. 4.7 mm caseless ammunition. Futuristic weapon troop-trialled in Germany in 1988. Accepts derivative of G3 bayonet with hilt almost hidden in stock when fixed.



    A distinctive feature of Heckler & Koch assault rifles is the cocking tube positioned above the barrel. In the case of rifles not intended for use with bayonets, the cocking tube is sealed at its forward end by a circular cap retained in position by a single screw-bolt (Plate 3).

    PLATE 3: Heckler & Koch rifle with plain cocking tube cap. A bayonet cannot be fixed unless the cap is replaced by an adaptor.

    The screw-bolt has a squared washer and a spring washer and passes through a small hole drilled in the lower left quadrant of the cocking tube, as seen from the point of view of an observer looking at the rifle from the muzzle end. It screws into a threaded hole drilled in the circular cap.

    Bayonet Adaptors for Small Lug (10 mm) Bayonets. The bayonet mounting system used by Heckler & Koch is highly unusual. For a rifle to accept a bayonet in most instances, the cocking tube cap must be replaced by a bayonet adaptor (Plates 4 & 5). The adaptor is secured in position in the forward end of the rifle's cocking tube by a screw-bolt in the same lower-left orientation as was described above. The screw-bolt can be tightened in a small threaded hole drilled in the adaptor (Plate 6).


  • PLATE 4: The two types of bayonet adaptor used with H&K rifles.

    To fix the bayonet, a projecting circular-sectioned lug (10 mm in diameter) on the rear surface of the bayonet pommel must be pushed against pressure from a spring-loaded plunger housed in the adaptor until a hooked catch mounted on the bayonet catches in a further larger unthreaded hole drilled through one side of the adaptor. When the catch on the bayonet is released, the spring-loaded plunger within the adaptor spring actually throws the bayonet out of its fixed position, a unique arrangement as compared to other bayonet fixing systems.

    PLATE 5: Bayonet adaptor fixed on bayonet lug.


  • PLATE 6: Diagrammatic Representation of the Muzzle View of a H&K Riflewith Bayonet Adaptor in Position in the Cocking Tube.

    Many of these adaptors were produced by Eickhorn of Solingen who made a whole range of bayonet adaptors fitting various NATO assault rifles. Heckler & Koch bayonets are unusual in that they fix above, rather than below, the rifle barrel. The bayonet therefore fixes in an 'upside-down' or inverted orientation with the muzzle ring downwards. The large 22 mm muzzle ring surrounds the rifle's flash-hider. The whole design of the most commonly encountered H&K bayonet variants reflects this 'upside-down' fixing position as blades are in a reversed orientation on the hilt, with the main cutting edge forward of the muzzle ring. When used a a hand-held knife, the bayonet is designed to be held 'upside-down' with the muzzle ring forward of the knuckles - the blade is then in the normal position for use a a cutting tool or weapon.


  • PLATE 7: Diagrammatic Representations H&K Rifle Bayonet Profiles as seen when viewing the bayonets end-on from the Rear.


  • The identification of H&K bayonets is complicated by the fact that the orientation of the catch on the bayonet pommel can vary. These alternative catch positions are illustrated here as a series of Profiles (see Plate 7). Each Profile represents a bayonet as seen looking at the rear surface of the pommel, with the muzzle ring downwards. By far the commonest of these is Profile 1 where the catch is in the '9 o'clock' position. (Profile 1A is a sub-variant applicable to the Eickhorn KCB derived wire-cutter bayonet.) Profile 1 and 1A bayonets require an adaptor which has the catch-hole drilled in the position shown in Plate 6-- that is at the mid-point of the right hand side of the adaptor. The relative positions of the adaptor's fixing-screw hole and catch-hole are vital here. Note that the adaptor is being viewed from the point of view of an observer looking at the rifle muzzle-on, while the bayonet Profiles are seen from the opposite point of view, looking at the rear surface of the bayonet pommel. Catch-holes are drilled through the metal of the adaptor only, not through the rifle's cocking tube which is perforated by just the screw-bolt hole.

    Profile 2 bayonets have their catches orientated in a '1.30' clock-face position and will not fix in an adaptor as illustrated in Plate 6 as the catch-hole is in the wrong position relative to the screw-bolt hole at the lower left quadrant of the cocking tube. For Profile 2 bayonets, the adaptor must have the catch-hole drilled in the upper left quadrant. In fact, a Two Catch-Hole adaptor was manufactured (see Plate 4) which has catch-holes in the correct positions to mate with both Profile 1 and Profile 2 bayonets, in addition to the usual smaller threaded screw-bolt hole.

    Note. An adaptor fitting in the end of the cocking tube was also made which had a projecting T-section lug. This accepted a U.S. M7-style bayonet made with a shortened quillon so that the bayonet cross-guard did not block the line of sight when fixed in the inverted position on a H&K rifle.

    Large Lug (20mm) Bayonets for Use Without an Adaptor.

    At a later stage in the usage of H&K G3 rifles, it was decided to modify the bayonet fixing system so that an adaptor was no longer necessary. Bayonets were hence produced which had a larger (20 mm diameter) projecting lug on the pommel which fitted directly into the open end of the rifle's cocking tube. In the case of Profile 4 and Profile 4A bayonets (see Plate 7) the orientation of the fixing catch on the bayonet was altered to a 4.30 clock-face position which allowed the hook on the bayonet catch to engage the existing hole drilled in the lower left quadrant of the cocking tube. This hole of course formerly housed the screw-bolt which held the adaptor in place, but was now no longer required for this purpose.

    However, one large-lug bayonet variant exists (Profile 3) which has a catch orientated in the 10.30 clock-face position. This would require a special catch-hole to be drilled in the rifle's cocking tube in a unique upper left quadrant position. Just why this particular complication was deemed necessary remains a mystery.



    It is not clear whether this type of bayonet was originally developed by Heckler & Koch of Oberndorf or by Carl Eickhorn of Solingen. The design had emerged by 1959 when the G3 rifle and its bayonet were adopted by the West German military.

    Such bayonets are about 305 mm overall with 165 mm blades and 22.0 mm muzzle rings. BLADE Blades are of the style originally developed in the USA for the M3 trench knife and are unfullered, single-edged and flat-backed for the rear section and then assume a double-edged diamond section running to the spear point. Blades are however


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